It’s the start of a new year, you’ve written a long list of new year’s resolutions, and now the first one is staring at you, demanding to be fulfilled: eat healthier. I can’t help with that one, but I can help with finding and landing voiceover opportunities!
Are You Building a Voice or a Voiceover Business?
There are a lot of factors that go into building a sustainable, long-term, and professionally fulfilling voiceover career. Voiceover is more than just a voice, a microphone, and drinking lots of water. It’s also about building a sustainable, well-oiled business. You might sound fantastic, you’ve got the coaches, you’ve honed your delivery, but you aren’t easy to work with. And that doesn’t mean you aren’t pleasant and accommodating; it might mean that you aren’t sending out regular emailers to remind people who you are. Your website is difficult to navigate and doesn’t have your latest demos and contact information.
Voiceover is a wonderfully creative endeavor, and sometimes we can forget the business part. Invest in yourself by investing in your business. We all want to get in front of the mic and do our thing. All the other stuff is the foundation we put in to get there. So before you get too down on yourself and your vocal talent, check your business. Ask a friend to look at your website, invest in CRM software, establish a marketing strategy and get down to the business of voiceover.
Are You Selling to Your Unique Niche?
Before you dive in and race to the middle with every other voiceover talent searching for a role, find what makes you different. That’s where finding your niche comes in. You want to choose the voiceover skill you feel you are good at, that you enjoy and that others are willing to pay you for. You might think you have one skill set when the reality is you are extraordinarily in a whole different area. How does the world see you? The world might not see or, in this case, hear you the way you hear yourself. It’s one of the many places where a good coach is invaluable. They’ll help you find your niche from an outside perspective.
It can be a tough pill for some to swallow; for others, it can be an incredible realization that they’re better at some things than they thought. Only when you have your niche can you truly start to build your brand and market yourself effectively. Ask friends, clients, agents, and CDs for three adjectives to describe your sound. Do they all line up with each other? Do people perceive your sound the same way you do?
Is Your Signature Sound Established?
The well-known concept of an ‘elevator pitch’ is a quick but persuasive sales pitch. It’s the distillation of a bigger idea into its core components, nippy and effective. An elevator pitch sparks interest in the larger story, and that’s what a voiceover artist needs to be able to do, both verbally and with their signature voice. Importantly, it can’t be the same as everyone else. It’s great to be versatile, but that doesn’t mean generic, bland, or boooring. As Sally Hogshead, a New York Times bestselling author demonstrates in her books, we need to fascinate! Make sure your brand, signature voice, and sound are established and easily recognizable.
Have You Broadened the Horizons of Your Voiceover Opportunities?
You have your niche; you have your business laid out in all its perfection. Now expand that all into different opportunities. If your character voices are out of this world, don’t just go after video game auditions. Your diction and script reading can’t be beaten, and tongue twisters don’t twist your tongue? Make that the thing people remember you for, and then stick to it. If your brand is the cleanest audio in the business, make sure your audio is clean.
Sometimes it can be great to be THE voiceover artist for a particular industry genre. The medical voice of voiceover, the political voice actor maven, or the promo specialist can also hinder your opportunities. That’s why it’s even better to be the storyteller, the gender-neutral voice, the Voice of Big Pharma (that’s me). So, where are the opportunities? Hiding in plain sight.
Long list incoming, but the length of the list highlights my point; opportunities abound, don’t paint yourself into a genre corner:
- ADR & Looping (Automatic Dialogue Replacement)
- Audio Description
- Audio Tours
- Covid content
- Education (CEUs, ESL, etc.)
- Health & Wellness
- Human Resources
- GPS & Virtual Assistants
- In-Show Narration
- ISI (Important Safety Information)
- MOAs & MODs (Mechanism of Action & Disease)
- Museum Tours
- Orientation Videos
- Real Estate Videos
- Sales Presentations
- Senior Living
- Text to Speech (TTS)
- Travel Guides
- Video Games
- Web Videos
Finding Voiceover Opportunities
It’s the big question, where do you find voiceover work? There are all the online platforms, Voice123, Bodalgo, and VOplanet. But signing up, sitting back, and waiting for the auditions to roll in isn’t as effective as being proactive. Reach out to potential employees, audition, audition, audition. And get ready for a lot of rejection; it’s part of the process.
A huge part of voice acting is auditioning and finding work. If you are new to the industry, it’s essential to prepare yourself for this reality. It’s a balancing act, you need to be auditioning, but you also need to be in a position to land those auditions by auditioning for the right jobs. Finding your niche and setting up your business is a massive step in the right direction.
Voiceover Checklist for Success:
- Make sure your online presence is pertinent and up to date, including any demos.
- Can a potential client contact you easily, and can they quickly assess what kind of sound you bring to the table?
- Have you emailed any previous clients you worked with to let them know you are available?
- Are you networking with other voiceover artists? Do you keep up to date with others’ skill sets and recommend others when you aren’t suitable for a job?
- Make sure your style of delivery is still viable in the current market.
- Apply your skillset and niche to other areas of the industry.